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Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin

“The back room of the Oxford Bar, the corner table by the fire”.

This where we find John Rebus, more often than not, convening a meeting with Matthew Fox and Siobhan Clarke – or simply sitting and thinking.

Several years ago Ian Rankin saddened his many readers when he made the decision to retire his character John Rebus. Thankfully he then decided to bring him back – the newer novels labeled “The New John Rebus”. And Rebus is a bit of a different man – he has ever so slightly mellowed as he has aged. Though he is officially retired – and a grandfather no less – Rebus is called upon to be part of a case when his expertise may be useful. In his new novel Even Dogs in the Wild Ian Rankin has Rebus re-united with Siobhan Clarke and Matthew Fox in a case that begins a generation ago.

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The prologue gives us a clue – a body is being transported by a couple of young thugs – to be disposed of in the wood – but there is a shocking surprise.

We then follow Rebus and the team, led by Siobhan now a Detective Inspector, for a week and a half of investigation in a dramatic and suspenseful novel.

Matthew Fox seems no longer to be just the new guy but a solid and irreplaceable member of the team and has become a true friend to the others. The friendship, and the rapport that has developed between these characters, especially now that Rebus is no longer the boss, adds another dimension to the novel.

Things have changed with another long time character, Big Ger Cafferty, as well. Once the kingpin of the hoodlums in Glasgow he is now pretty much retired.  The local thugs, and others from as far away as Edinburgh, are vying to replace Big Ger and consolidate their own turf. How this all ties into the brief glimpse we had of the past at the beginning of the novel is – of course – not revealed until well in to the book and not completely known until the very end.

Another winner from one of the best of all mystery novelists.

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